The One Statistic You Probably Know About Divorce Is Wrong

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The most commonly cited statistic about divorce, that 50% of marriages end in one, is simply no longer true. In fact, the divorce rate isn’t going up. It’s steadily falling — and has been for many years now. Divorce rates peaked in the late 1970s and early 1980s, likely as a result of the changing culture as marriage evolved into its current form, based primarily on shared interests and more equitable earning and housework expectations. But fewer and fewer people have been calling it quits and calling divorce attorneys since then. If that surprises you, you’re probably not alone; many people simply don’t have the facts on divorce. Here’s a look at the current state of divorce, by the numbers:

  • 20%: The probability that a first marriage will end in separation or divorce within five years.
  • 33%: The probability of a first marriage ending in separation or divorce within 10 years.
  • 10%: The portion of the U.S. population that is divorced.
  • 13%: The amount by which the risk of divorce decreases for people who have attended college.
  • 24%: The amount by which the risk of divorce decreases for people who marry after the age of 25.
  • $15,000-$30,000: The average cost of a divorce.
  • 1: The length of time, in years, average divorce proceedings last.
  • 95%: The percentage of divorce cases that reach an out-of-court settlement.
  • 67%: The percentage of couples who go through divorce mediation (in which both parties and their divorce attorneys sit down with a designated neutral third party to agree to the terms of the divorce) and are satisfied with the outcome.
  • 80%: The portion of divorce cases that are unilateral, meaning that one party wants the divorce while the other does not.
  • 1.5 Million: The number of children whose parents get divorced every year.
  • 75%: The percentage of children of divorced parents who end up living with their mothers (according to child custody attorneys).
  • 66%: The portion of U.S. marriages that will never involve a divorce, if current trends continue.

Did any of these statistics surprise you? Discuss in the comments.

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